Respiratory Protection Program | St. Lawrence University Environmental Health and Safety

Respiratory Protection Program

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St. Lawrence University

Environmental Health and Safety Office

Respiratory Protection Program

Protecting workers from respiratory hazards


Adopted April 30, 2019



Nick Ormasen


Purchasing and Environmental Health and Safety

St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617

(315) 229-5303                                                            



Respiratory Protection Program Contents


  1. Purpose
  2. Scope and Application
  3. 3.0 Responsibilities
  4. Program Elements
    1. Initial Hazard Assessment
    2. Selection and Use
    3. Medical Evaluations
    4. Fit Testing and Training
    5. Inspection and Maintenance
    6. Recordkeeping
  5. Exemptions
  6. Contract Employees

Appendix A:  Monthly Inspection and Maintenance Record

Appendix B:  St. Lawrence University Information for Employees/Students Using Respirators When Not Required Under 29 CFR 1910.134

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this program is to ensure that all employees are protected from of inhalation harmful substances, through the proper use of respirators. This program is designed to comply with the Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134) as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

2.0 Scope and Application


This program applies to all employees who need to wear respirators during normal work operations. It may also be necessary to wear respiratory protection during non-routine operations in which individuals could be exposed to short-term high concentrations of a hazardous substance. For example, during maintenance or repair activities or spill cleanup.

The use of respirators at St. Lawrence University is subject to prior review and approval by the Program Coordinator. Any individual who has received approval by the Program Coordinator to use a respirator must enroll in the Respiratory Protection Program.

Respiratory protection will be used only where engineering or administrative controls are not feasible, cannot reduce exposure to acceptable levels, or while engineering controls are being installed. The need for respiratory protection is dependent upon the type of operation and the nature and quantity of material(s) in use and must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Contractors are responsible for providing their own respiratory protection programs and respiratory protective equipment.

3.0 Responsibilities

3.1 Program Coordinator

The Chemical Hygiene Officer will serve as the Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator will:


  • Evaluate hazards.
  • Assist in selection of suitable respiratory protection options.
  • Arrange for initial and annual training and fit-testing.
  • Perform periodic reevaluations of exposures.
  • Maintain records of fit testing and training.
  • Periodically audit department programs and procedures.
  • Track and schedule annual medical evaluations.


3.2 Departments


  • Recognize potential hazards and contact the Program Coordinator for evaluation.
  • Purchase respirators and associated equipment.
  • Develop and implement department specific procedures to comply with this program.
  • Notify the Program Coordinator of new individuals requiring respiratory protection.
3.3 Supervisors


  • Recognize the potential hazards and notify the department or the Program Coordinator.
  • Enforce the use of respiratory protection, where necessary.
  • Act as or appoint a Respiratory Protection Coordinator to serve as a point of contact between the department and the Program Coordinator.
3.4 Employees


  • Recognize and report potential hazards to supervisor.
  • Use respiratory protection as instructed.
  • Attend annual fit testing and training.
  • Inspect respirators for defects or missing parts.
  • Clean and store respirator as instructed.


3.5 Human Resources


  • Maintain medical evaluation records


4.0 Program Elements

4.1 Initial Hazard Assessment

Anyone who believes that respiratory protection is needed during the course of his or her work must notify the Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator will evaluate the potential hazards or arrange for outside assistance to determine if respiratory protection is needed. This may involve personal and area air sampling to measure exposure levels. 


4.2 Selection and Use

The Program Coordinator determines the type of respirator needed based on the results of the initial hazard assessment. This could include a half or full-face air purifying respirator, powered air purifying respirator, supplied air respirator, or self contained breathing apparatus. When air purifying respirators are recommended, the appropriate type of filter or chemical cartridge will be selected. Only respirators and supplies approved by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) may be used at St. Lawrence University. The manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the chemical or chemical products must be reviewed for information about the type of respirator and cartridges that may be required for work with the product.

Departments will purchase and maintain the appropriate respirator and supplies.

4.3 Medical Evaluations


Employees will not be allowed to wear respirators unless it has been determined that they are physically able to perform their work while wearing the equipment.  Medical evaluations will be conducted by a medical professional after review of a medical questionnaire. The medical status of each individual enrolled in the Respiratory Protection Program will be reviewed annually. 

4.4 Fit Testing and Training


Individuals required to wear negative pressure respirators must be properly fitted and tested for an adequate seal prior to using the respirator in a contaminated atmosphere. Qualitative fit testing will be arranged for by the Program Coordinator. Instructions on performing positive and negative pressure checks will be provided to users so that they may check their respirator’s fit in the field. 

Individuals who require respiratory protection must receive training and fit testing before using the respirator. The training will include:

  • a discussion of the need for respiratory protection,
  • the elements of the Respiratory Protection Program,
  • the individual’s responsibilities,
  • the Medical Surveillance Program,
  • proper use and limitations of respiratory protection,
  • respirator maintenance, and
  • handling emergencies.

All respirator users must attend training and be fit-tested annually if they wish to remain in the respiratory protection program.

4.5 Inspection and Maintenance


Respirator users are responsible for regular cleaning and inspection of their assigned respirators, including looking for defects and missing parts. Respirators will be stored properly in order to protect them from dust, sunlight, excessive heat or cold, moisture, and chemicals. Worn or deteriorated parts will be replaced.

The department Respiratory Protection Coordinator should periodically spot check respirators to ensure that they are in good condition.

4.6 Recordkeeping


The Program Coordinator will maintain records of training and fit-testing. Departments will maintain inspection and maintenance records.  See Appendix A for a sample inspection and maintenance record.  Medical Records are confidential and will be filed at the Human Resources Department.


5.0 Exemptions

The voluntary use of a dusk masks or particulate respirators does not require an individual to be placed in the St. Lawrence University Respiratory Protection Program. However, any person using particulate respirators must review and sign off on the "Information for Employees/Students Using Respirators Not Required by the Standard"

The voluntary use of all other respirators will require the user to:

  • be medically cleared to use a respirator;
  • review and sign off on the "Information for Employees/Students Using Respirators Not Required by the Standard"; and
  • ensure that their respirator is cleaned, stored, and maintained so its use does not present a health hazard.

6.0  Contract Employees

Contract Employees shall have a copy of their company Respiratory Protection Plan and shall consult with St. Lawrence University prior to entering any St. Lawrence University areas that require respiratory protection. They shall provide their own company respirators.








Appendix A

Respirator Inspection and Maintenance Record

See printer-friendly version for monthly checklist.




User name:

Issue date:

Fit test date:

Size: _S _M _M/L _L __Other:

Respirator Make:


Manufacture date:

__ ½ mask __ Full mask

Log begin date:

Log end date:



Monthly respirator cleaning record

During cleaning inspect the following items of your respirator

Facepiece free from cracks, tears and dirt?

Facepiece seal area distortion free, material is pliable?

Inhalation valves, including valve seats free from cracks or tearing?

Head straps intact, do they have good elasticity?

All plastic parts free of signs of cracking or fatigue?

All gaskets properly seated?

Exhalation valve & seat free from dirt, distortion, cracking, tearing?

Lens free from cracks?(full face mask only)

Lens free from scratches that impede vision?(full face mask only

Filters within their expiry date?

Is the respirator facepiece less than 5 years old?

Note: If any boxes above are marked ý then the mask may have to be replaced. Consult with your supervisor before using the mask again. Monthly respirator cartridge/filter check (mark with date changed)

Supervisor monthly review (initial)





Appendix B

St. Lawrence University Information for Employees/Students Using Respirators When Not Required Under 29 CFR 1910.134


To the employer: The statement below must be read by all employees and students (or read to them in an understandable fashion) who are using respirators not required under the Respiratory Protection Standard. A copy of this document should be given to the employee.

To the employee/student: Ensure you keep a copy of this form for your personal records.


Employee/Student Name: _________________________    ID: ____________________

Facility/Class: _________________________Work/Class Location:________________

Job Title: ________________________        Dept./Phone: ________________________


I certify that I have read and/or understand the information below (OSHA Respiratory Protection Statement) as is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and have been provided with a copy of this document.

EMPLOYEE/STUDENT SIGNATURE: ____________________________DATE: _____          


To The Respirator User: Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn. Respirator use is encouraged, even when exposures are below the exposure limit, to provide an additional level of comfort and protection for workers. However, if a respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the respirator itself can become a hazard to the worker. Sometimes, workers may wear respirators to avoid exposures to hazards, even if the amount of hazardous substance does not exceed the limits set by OSHA standards. If your employer provides respirators for your voluntary use, or if you provide your own respirator, you need to take certain precautions to be sure that the respirator itself does not present a hazard. You Should Do The Following:
1.Read and heed all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and warnings regarding the respirators limitations.
2.Choose respirators certified for use to protect against the contaminant of concern. NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, certifies respirators. A label or statement of certification should appear on the respirator or respirator packaging. It will tell you what the respirator is designed for and how much it will protect you.
3.Do not wear your respirator into atmospheres containing contaminants for which your respirator is not designed to protect against. For example, a respirator designed to filter dust particles will not protect you against gases, vapors, or very small solid particles of fumes or smoke.
4.Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else's respirator.

Retention File:                                                Location:

Date Filed:                                                      Filed By: